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Gynura aurantiaca, commonly known as Purple Passion, is a unique-looking plant that is well known for its vibrant purple foliage. These leaves are fuzzy to the touch as they are covered in many tiny purple hairs that almost appear to glow in bright sunlight, giving it the alternative common name 'Velvet Plant'
Purple Passion is native to Asia, specifically the Indonesian islands of Java and Celebes. They've been used as a houseplant for over 200 years!
Although they're called Purple Passion, these plants are technically actually a rich emerald green color. It's the tiny hairs on their leaves that give them their purple coloring.
In order to get the best possible coloring on your Purple Passion, you should provide it with plenty of bright indirect light. Direct sunlight may damage the plant, but too low light conditions can lead to the purple coloring starting to fade.
These plants can produce yellow or orange flowers as they begin to near the end of their maturity. However, these flowers usually don't smell all that great, so it's a good idea to remove them as they appear if you want to avoid the strong odor that they emit.
Purple Passion loves water and can quickly start to wilt if it's allowed to get too dry. If you notice it's starting to look sad and droopy, it could well be a sign that it needs a watering, although do make sure to check the soil first before adding any more water.
Note that it's important not to mist this plant! The fuzzy hairs trap moisture, which in turn can lead to fungal infections developing on the foliage. This is because the water has nowhere to escape to and builds up on the leaf surface, leaving it susceptible to infection.
Purple Passion belongs to the Asteraceae family, also known as the Daisy family, meaning that some of its close relatives include Calendula, Echinacea, Sunflowers and, of course, the Common Daisy!
These plants can grow up to 2 feet (61 cm) tall and 4 feet (1.2 m) wide - they grow quite quickly to form a bush-like shape. However, they can also be allowed to trail as they do show a cascading habit if allowed to drape from, for example, a hanging basket.
The purple coloring on younger plants will appear more vibrant than on more mature plants. Don't worry if it seems that your older plant is fading - this is perfectly normal. It's not actually fading at all, it's just that Purple Passion doesn't continue to produce more hairs on its leaves as it matures. This means that, as its leaves get bigger, the hairs are more sparsely distributed and so the green coloring beneath becomes more visible.